According to a report from The Sun, there were over 2,287 recorded crimes that involved children possessing, making or distributing indecent images between April 2015-April 2016. Alarmingly, there were 510 suspects that were below 13 years old, including another who was just 6.
“Why it is that you can’t prevent the texting of sexually explicit images by people under the age of 18?”
With the internet and social media becoming even more and more popular, children are getting exposed to more and more indecent or sexually explicit images; which calls into question just how important it is to limit the exposure of children to these types of images.
UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt called for mobile companies and social media websites to place restrictions on what types of messages underage people can send. He says, ‘I just ask myself the simple question as to why it is that you can’t prevent the texting of sexually explicit images by people under the age of 18, if that’s a lock that parents choose to put on a mobile phone contract.”
He adds, “Because there is technology that can identify sexually explicit pictures and prevent it being transmitted.”
“The ‘epidemic’ of young children sexting is deeply concerning”
According to Javed Khan, CEO of Barnardo’s, a charity based in the UK, “The ‘epidemic’ of young children is deeply concerning.”
Additionally, schools are also being urged to cover sex education much more comprehensively in order to prevent sexual abuse.
Authorities are also looking towards adopting a more common sense approach when it comes to minors that share or send sexually explicit images.
According to an NSPCC spokesperson, “Unless there is evidence of coercion or exploitation, children caught up in this behaviour should not be criminalized, but rather educated about the dangers and supported to manage the pressures that they may face to take part.”
It just goes to show that parents these days have to be extra wary and keep themselves updated when it comes to their children’s online activities.
Go to the next page to learn more about monitoring your children’s online activities.
Should I monitor my child’s activity online?
While it’s important to give our children the freedom to explore the world and learn things by themselves, it’s also important that we know when to be strict when it comes to the activities that they do online. That’s why a balance between freedom and responsibility is needed.
Here are some steps that you can take so that you can be sure that your children aren’t exposed to anything indecent or dangerous online:
- No Facebook for children below 13. Did you know that Facebook doesn’t allow children under 13 to sign up? While Facebook doesn’t really have a means to prevent underage members from signing up, it’s the parent’s responsibility to determine whether having a Facebook account is right for their child.
- Know how to check and set privacy settings. Make sure that the privacy settings on both the browser and any social networking sites that your children use are on the highest privacy settings. That way, you’re sure that your kids are safe from any malicious viruses or people who want to exploit security flaws.
- Use software to filter the sites that your child can access. There’s a wide variety of software to choose from when it comes to filtering the sites that your child can access. Choose the best one that suits your needs, and you won’t have to worry about your children visiting sites with content that’s not suitable for their age.
- Set rules, and stick to it. Being online 24/7 is not good. That’s why you have to establish house rules when it comes to your children’s use of the internet. Make sure to stick to it, and don’t make any exceptions.
- Know your child’s habits. Know what your child does on social media. It doesn’t mean that you have to stalk them and monitor all of what they do. It just means that you need to at least have an idea of the content that your children are posting and talk about them if they post or share anything inappropriate.
- Keep the computer in an easily accessible location. If you have a shared home computer, place it inside the living room or inside an area where you can easily monitor your children’s activity.
- Set an example. Be a good example when it comes to social media use. Never post anything inappropriate or anything that can hurt or harm other people. Children learn by example, so being a responsible internet user will make them responsible about their internet use as well.
READ: Just how much hate speech are children exposed to online?
Sources: thesun.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk, safekids.com
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